ALLEZ - Jose Vicente ‘JV’ Araneta (The Freeman) - February 1, 2021 - 12:00am

There is something about riding a bicycle in the rain.

For some, its about not riding in the rain- its wet, I don’t like my team kit to get oiled, I don’t want my carbon bike full of grit and water. I don’t want my Italian leather saddle mushy. I hate the feeling of water in my shoes. I don’t like the cold. I don’t have a raincoat.

That’s just some of the excuses.

But all of it are true. But there is something about riding against the elements that makes you a man, at least in cycling. It’s not  that cyclists who despise the spray are softies, its what embody the sport that comes from deep inside the soul of cycling.

Cycling is not a rich man’s sport. It’s a sport for the masses, the blue collars, the faces that are smeared with dust as the they emerge from the mining pits. Cycling is not a sport that is held in the confines of a gymnasium, where temperatures can be controlled, it is held on the streets were ordinary people pass every day to work and eke out a living.

When folks go out our their homes to go to work, they don’t have air-conditioned cars. They take the jeepneys or the bus. A century ago, people ride to work in their bicycles. It doesn’t matter what the weather gods throw at them that day, they have to go out and work, or starve. Remember this slogan from the US postman? “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” The mailmen were doing their rounds in their bicycles.

Unless I am not feeling well, I don’t go out in the rain. But if I’m physically okay, I’m like a duck to water, the stars to the sky. My cycling heroes are not the winners of the Tour de France. While I certainly appreciate]their talent and capabilities, there is no comparison from someone who have won Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders. There is a certain aura of a Fabian Cancellara, a Tom Boonen or a Peter Sagan than a Chris Froome, they are the hard men.

Of course, when you are a winner of the Tour and you’ve also dominated the cobbled classics, then you can sit on the table with the gods like Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

Riding in the rain speaks of a bygone era, a time of typewriters and rotary phones, reading  a newspaper and heading to beach on Sundays instead of the mall.

Riding in the rain is hard, but there is some joy in the and that you did something the hard way. It’s like taking the stairs when there is an elevator. If it was another endeavor, I’d most likely not do it.

The feeling of raindrops on your face at 40kph, the gustiness of wind, the scream of the surf breaking as I rode past the seawall Toledo is refreshing. It’s the same feeling when I was a kid and I played under the rain.

So go out and ride in the rain. It’s a different feeling, makes you feel like you’ve earned your ride. You’re a Flahute.

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